Report: Dario Saric Says He’s Joining Sixers in 2016
Dario Saric returned to Croatia this weekend when his club, Anadolu Efes, played KK Cedevita in Zagreb.
While there Saric, a native of Croatia who plays on the Croatian national team, talked to Jutarnji list, one of Croatia’s largest newspapers.
In the article Saric talked about everything from his current playing time and role with Efes to the possibility of him joining the Sixers for the 2016-17 season.
Saric signed a three year contract with Efes days before the 2014 NBA draft. The contract contained a buyout after two seasons, meaning the summer of 2016 is the earliest time Saric could realistically join the Sixers.
There has been some speculation that Saric could play out his entire three-year contract with Efes to maximize his earning potential. By league rule, if a first round draft pick does not sign with the team that drafted him within three years of being drafted he is no longer bound by the restrictive rookie scale. In this scenario, the Sixers would still hold Saric’s exclusive rights, and Saric could only negotiate with the Sixers.
Despite this potential financial incentive, Saric has been steadfast in stating that his intention is to come over to the NBA at the earliest possible opportunity. He reiterated this desire when talking to Jutarnji over the weekend.
“I am in constant contact with the Sixers. They wanted me as soon as possible, but I have a contract with Efes,” Saric said, according to Google’s translation of the article. “In the summer I will still go because I have a way out in the contract.”
Saric has been absolutely clear in his intention to come over at the first possible opportunity. On the night of the 2014 draft Saric said it was a 100% certainty that he would come over to the NBA after two seasons.
After an excellent first season with Efes, Saric’s playing time has taken a little bit of a dip so far this season, in part because of the addition of former Xavier forward Derrick Brown to the front court rotation. This is especially true in Turkish League play, where Saric is averaging just 14 minutes per night, although he has been impressive when he has gotten on the court with averages of 7.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game despite his limited playing time.
Saric’s playing time has increased during his three Euroleague games, all starts, where he’s averaged 12.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game in just over 21 minutes per night.
So far Saric is shooting 69.6% from two point range and 46.7% from three point range in six combined Turkish League and Euroleague games.
(h/t to Matt Lambardo of NJ.com for first reporting on Saric’s statements).